Photo by Gaby Yerden on Unsplash

I've been a bit focused on cocktails lately. Okay, for a while now. It's been a heck of a year you know. I've gone through some great canned cocktails, tried some amazing tequila, tasted a lot of rum recently, and I can't even tell you how much wine I've gone through. All for the sake of *ahem* research. It seems the only thing I haven't had was vodka, until now.

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

I recently obtained a Crystal Head Vodka Pride bottle and I haven't opened it yet. If you've never heard of Crystal Head, then let me tell you! I haven't opened the bottle yet because one, it's beautiful and shiny. Two, because it literally looks like the Crystal Skulls from an ancient legend but without the mystical powers (I think). Who knows, maybe it does. I'll let you know when I finally open it.

Full disclosure, they sent me a sample but only AFTER they told me they weren't doing any marketing or advertising in my area. Which is fine, they were nice enough to send me a sample anyway. They sent me a nice packaged bottle. Inside the box was the Crystal Head Vodka itself, a vodka fan, a Made with Pride t-shirt, and some literature on their product.

LGBTQ+ Community Support

When I was reading the flyer in the box I was surprised to see that they support the LGBTQ+ community every day. Every month and year-round. They don't just tout the Pride Month support, they have ongoing programs across the country that they are involved in.

They work regularly with Stonewall Sports Program, The Test Positive Awareness Network, Kaleidoscope Trust, and Lurie Children's Hospital Transgender Youth Program. This year they have also partnered with Gay Pride Apparel which is a Mexican-American and LGBTQ+ owned brand that focuses on empowerment, pride, and authenticity for year-round pride. For every bottle of Crystal Head Vodka and Gay Pride Apparel t-shirt sold, they are donating a portion of the proceeds to the Human Rights Campaign.

All of this made me think so I did a little digging. What other brands were supporting us year-round? I found an article about 11 brands that support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, and another 12 companies that support LGBTQ+ families year-round. It's great there are so many companies now supporting our community more and more. It makes me feel better about supporting them too.

What is Crystal Head Vodka

Crystal Head Vodka is a premium vodka made from Canadian corn and owned by Dan Aykroyd and John Alexander The vodka is distilled four times and blended with water from Newfoundland then filtered through Herkimer diamond crystals. The spirits are also free of any additives such as glycerol, citrus oil, or sugar and their factory is certified kosher. Currently, you can purchase the bottles in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

You can purchase three varieties of vodka:

  1. The original vodka comes in a clear bottle and is made from Canadian Peaches and Cream sweet corn.
  2. The second vodka is called Aurora and is made from English wheat. The flavor is drier and spicier than the original and the bottle is opalescent to represent the Aurora Borealis.
  3. The third vodka is called Crystal Head Onyx and is made from blue agave from the Jalisco Mexico region. Onyx is the first agave-based vodka.

Vodka Recipes

Sugar Daddy

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Crystal Head Vodka
  • 4 ounces Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • ½ ounces Simple Syrup
  • Muddled Raspberries
  • ½ ounces Cointreau
  • ½ ounces Fresh Lime Juice

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add ice, shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass with pink sugar rim.

Red On The Runway

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • ¼ ounce Campari
  • ¼ ounce St. Germain
  • ½ ounce Tart Cranberry Juice
  • ½ ounce Fresh Lime Juice
  • ½ ounce Simple Syrup
  • Top with Soda

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda.

Tropic Like It's Hot

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • ½ ounce Campari
  • ½ ounce Apricot Liqueur
  • ½ ounce Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 ½ ounce Fresh Pineapple Juice
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ½ ounce Simple Syrup
  • Morello Cherry

Instructions

  1. Build ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf, cherry, and pineapple slice.

Pineapple In Your Pocket

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Crystal Head Vodka
  • 2 ounces Fresh Pineapple Juice
  • ½ ounce Falernum Syrup
  • ¼ ounce Lime Juice
  • 5-6 Mint Leaves, muddled

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker, muddle, and shake on ice. Double strain into a highball glass with ice. Garnish with mint crown and dehydrated pineapple ring. Add a colourful yellow straw.

Green Drama Queen

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • 4 ounce Thai Basil Lemonade

Instructions

  1. Using a blender, add lemonade and 250g Thai basil with the stems removed. Blend together for 1-2 minutes until liquid. Strain basil from the lemonade and discard. Fill a highball glass with ice and add Crystal Head Vodka and Thai basil lemonade. Garnish with a cucumber wheel.

Blued Up

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • ¾ ounce St. Germain
  • ¾ ounce Blue Curacao
  • ½ ounce Lemon Juice
  • ½ ounce Pineapple Juice

Instructions

  1. Hard shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

Lady Lavender

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • 1 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¾ ounce Lavender Syrup
  • Muddled Blueberries
  • Top with Sparkling Wine

Instructions

  1. Muddle ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake on ice. Double strain into a wine glass with regular ice. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a blueberry skewer.

What's The T?

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounce Crystal Head Vodka
  • ½ ounce Honey Simple Syrup
  • ¼ ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ ounce Cointreau
  • Top with Black Tea

Instructions

  1. Build ingredients in a Collins glass and stir. Garnish with lemon.

Black Magic

Photo by Crystal Head Vodka

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Crystal Head Vodka
  • ¾ ounce Blue Curacao
  • ½ ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¾ ounce Crème de Briottet

Instructions

  1. Build ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with dehydrated lemon or lime.
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Mjolnir

Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.


Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.